Amanda’s Boarding School Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! I’ve been starting to plan my TBR for spooky season and I realized that I’ve been reading boarding school stories recently. I thought that was funny since it wasn’t planned. I have a few more I want to read during spooky season, so maybe I’ll talk about those in my wrap up.

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Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
“Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game. Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.  The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.”

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Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
“Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way. Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins. A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations.”

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Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
“Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires—the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them. After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger… and the Strigoi are always close by. Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever…”

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Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
“Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better. Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute. The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess. She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland. At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?”

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Love Jacaranda by Alex Flinn
“Jacaranda Abbott has always tried to keep her mouth shut. As a foster kid, she’s learned the hard way that the less she talks about her mother and why she’s in jail, the better. But when a video of Jacaranda singing goes viral, a mysterious benefactor offers her a life-changing opportunity—a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school to study musical theater. Eager to start over somewhere new, Jacaranda leaps at the chance. She pours her heart out in emails to the benefactor she’s never met. Suddenly she’s swept up in a world of privilege where the competition is fierce and the talent is next level. As Jacaranda—Jackie to her new friends—tries to find her place, a charming boy from this world of wealth catches her eye. She begins to fall for him, but can he accept her for who she really is?

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Looking for Alaska by John Green
Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.”

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A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
“The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar. From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.”

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The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
“When Moira Dreyfuss’s parents announce that they’re sending her to an all-girls boarding school deep in the Maine woods, Moira isn’t fooled. She knows her parents are punishing her; she’s been too much trouble since her best friend, Nathan, died―and for a while before that. At the Castle School, isolated from the rest of the world, Moira will be expected to pour her heart out to the odd headmaster, Dr. Prince. But she isn’t interested in getting over Nathan’s death or befriending her fellow students. On her first night there, Moira hears distant music. On her second, she discovers the lock on her window is broken. On her third, she and her roommate venture outside…and learn that they’re not so isolated after all. There’s another, very different, Castle School nearby―this one filled with boys whose parents sent them away, too. Moira is convinced that the Castle Schools and the doctors who run them are hiding something. But exploring the schools will force Moira to confront her overwhelming grief―and the real reasons her parents sent her away.”

Well, this is it friends. These are some books that have a boarding school setting that I enjoyed reading. Boarding school is a buzz word for me. I love to read about boarding schools, so hopefully you’ll enjoy some of these recommendations.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Ten: Hocus Pocus Book Tag

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Hi, lovelies! Antonia and I are here with another fun Spooktober themed book tag. Who doesn’t love Hocus Pocus? This movie is a total classic and I was excited to see that it has its own book tag. It’s the perfect post for Blogtober. I found this tag over at Romance Book Binge. Let’s get to it!

A great trilogy

Amanda- One of the best trilogies I’ve read this year so far was definitely the Book of the Ancestor trilogy by Mark Lawrence.

Antonia- One that I’ve been most excited about recently is the Chronicles of the One trilogy by Nora Roberts. The first two books were amazing and the last comes out in December. I. Can’t. Wait.

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Winifred Sanderson: A book with a truly evil female villain.

Amanda- All I’m going to say is House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig.

Antonia- The first one that comes to mind since I’m rereading it is Levana from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. She’s definitely a little crazy.

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Sarah Sanderson: A book that uncannily attracts children.

Amanda- Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chockshi is a great middle grade series that I want everyone to read.

Antonia- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis was one of my parent’s favorites, one of my favorites and now my nephew loves them too.

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Mary Sanderson: A book that is just plain silly.

Amanda- I laughed all the way through The Disasters by M.K. England.

Antonia- The BFG by Roald Dahl is by far the silliest book I’ve read.

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Max: A book that is trying really hard to be cool, but doesn’t always succeed.

Amanda- The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

Antonia- The House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast were equal parts interesting storyline and too much teenage angst.

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Dani: A book that isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

Amanda- I just finished this one and adored it. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro.

Antonia- Crank by Ellen Hopkins. It was the first book I was introduced to that didn’t sugarcoat things like drugs and teenage pregnancy.

Binx: A book series that just won’t die.

Amanda- Welll, I’m currently rereading the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. So, I think that’s pretty fitting.

Antonia- Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James is one I wish disappeared into a black hole forever ago.

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Ice: A book with a character that’s dumb as a rock.

Amanda- Scam from the Zeroes trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, Deborah Biancotti, & Margo Lanagan. He gets it together, eventually.

Antonia- Winter from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is one who definitely isn’t all there but eventually you learn it’s less her being stupid and more that she’s just crazy.

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The Black Flame Candle: A book or series you wish you could resurrect.

Amanda- I actually sort of am resurrecting this series. I just found The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa and borrowed it from Antonia. So, I’m hoping to reread these soon.

Antonia- The Age of X series by Richelle Mead. As far as I can tell this series is never going past book two because of low sales and that really pisses me off.

Headless Billy Butcherson: A book that’s not as bad as people make it out to be.

Amanda- Again, but Better by Christine Riccio. I know this book has flaws, but I liked it anyway.

Antonia- Beastly by Alex Flinn. I think the terrible movie had an adverse affect on peoples opinions of the book.

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Winifred Sanderson’s Spell Book: A book with a mind of its own.

Amanda- The Disasters by M.K. England

Antonia- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

Garry Marshall: A book with a cameo.

Amanda- I actually recently buddy read Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum. She totally made a reference to another one of her books (Tell Me Three Things) which totally made me laugh.

Antonia- Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. I don’t remember exactly which books but a couple of them make subtle references to the Kane Chronicles and vice versa.

That’s all the questions for this one! We loved this tag, it was so fun to think of books for these questions. Now we’re off to watch some Hocus Pocus of course.

Now, we shall tag some lovely bloggers to also participate!

 

 

Blogtober Day One: Amanda’s Bookeyman-A-Thon TBR

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Hi, lovelies! I’m here today to say Happy October! It’s the prime time of the spooky season and I’m so excited to be participating in a Spooktober readathon that is hosted by two of my favorite bookish friends, Alana @ The Bookish Chick & Books in the Skye. I shall leave the link to the twitter thread with all of the info here. I have chosen Team Clan because fifteen-year-old me would never let me choose anything other than the Vampires. There are a few challenges that I will list below with my chosen books. The Bookeyman-A-Thon will be going on for the whole month of Spooktober. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some spooky books.

Read the Group Book:

Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Read a book you’ve been dying to sink your teeth into – Read a backlist book:

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

You need to feed and all you see is blood – Read a book with a red cover:

Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Make your immortality count and become well known – Read a book with over 15,000 ratings on GoodReads:

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Sunrise Challenge: You need to avoid the sunlight – Read a book only at night:

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

I’m beyond excited for these prompts and the books I’ve chosen to read for this readathon. Tell me in the comments about what you’re planning to read for the spookiest month of the year!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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The Diviners by Libba Bray

GoodReads Summary:
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
Review:
This enormous book took me WAY too long to listen to. I had to request The Diviners three or four times before actually getting through the 12+ hour audiobook. I have a few things to talk about, some good and some bad.
Let’s start with the good. I really enjoyed the narrator. She did an excellent job portraying all the different characters. There were songs she had to sing and various male and female characters. I am super impressed that this book is narrated by one person for the entire thing. I liked the uniqueness of the story. It’s a really interesting concept. I also really liked the writing itself. Bray writes very well, giving the story personality. There were lots of little things that caught my attention that I enjoyed. There were quite a few supporting characters. Each of these characters got their own backstory. Bray did a great job of giving each of them a thorough background.
Now sadly the things I didn’t like we’re all of the important things. I didn’t like the characters. They were okay. I don’t actively dislike them, but I didn’t like them enough to get invested in them. Evie was annoying until over halfway through the book. She’s immature and selfish. She was also clever and determined and resourceful. Uncle Will was secretive and underestimated Evie at every turn, which was also annoying. He has secrets that weren’t revealed by the end of the book. I know this is supposed to make me want to read the next books, but I honestly can’t imagine listening to another 12+ hours of these characters running around. Despite all of the characters having their own stories and their futures intertwining, I just couldn’t get invested. The plot/storyline was interesting but there’s something about it that I just couldn’t get into. I think maybe it was the time period it took place in. During the time of prohibition, I’m supposed to believe there are all these people with magic powers and everyone’s just going to accept that? Meh, I’m not interested.
I really wanted to like this book. So many people love this story but I’m not one of them. I don’t know that I’ll be attempting to finish the series. I likely would have just DNF’d the book, but I by the time I said to myself, “why am I still listening to this?” I had waited a few months (this is all of the time combined) for it to be available at my library and I was 60 something percent of the way through the story. So, I decided to push through and finish it.
I thought this was going to be the perfect book for spooktober, but despite an interesting story idea and an excellent narrator I was not terribly invested in The Diviners even though I tried really hard to be. Don’t let this review deter you from the story though, so so many others loved this book. It just wasn’t for me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Amanda’s October Wrap Up

Hi, bookfriends! Happy Halloween! How was everyone’s Spooktober?

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I’m here today to share with you the books I’ve read in the month of October (except for whatever I read today during my Halloween-A-Thon which I’ll explain later.) I think I did a decent amount of reading this month. I’m pretty proud of myself actually considering I have a two-month-old baby and I’m taking two classes at my college right now.

So, I’m going to list the books I read by their formatting because I read physical books when I can, but I often read ebooks (at night mostly) and audiobooks when I don’t have hands available to hold a physical book.

Physical Books

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (review)
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (review)
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
The Assassins Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

eBooks
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

Audiobooks
The Diviners by Libba Bray
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

There were some of these that I read in more than one form. I went back and forth between eBook and physical book while reading City of Ashes, Norse Mythology, and The Bone Season. I also went back and forth between audiobook and physical book for The Hazel Wood. 

Quite a few of these were rereads in preparation for new releases like the Throne of Glass books as well as City of Ashes. I am a reader that loves to reread books, especially once the final book in the series is published.

My favorite read for October is tied between An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. These were both excellent stories that I could not stop reading/listening to until I was done with the story.

My least favorite for the month of October was The Diviners by Libba Bray. I read this because of the hype and I was looking for spooky reads. I did not hate this book, but it was a challenge for me to get through. Really the excellent narrator is the only reason I finished.

What books did everyone read this Spooktober? Anything spooky, scary or creepy? Let me know in the comments what your favorites or least favorites were!

Side Note: I may have read a few books by the time this posts because I’m writing this ahead of time. But those books will get their own post because they will be part of my 24-hour Halloween-A-Thon. Since I have a newborn and she doesn’t really need to go trick or treating, we are going to dress up as unicorns and hand out candy to the kids in our neighborhood. So I will be home all day long, I’m going to challenge myself to spend the day reading. As it will be Halloween, I’ve chosen a stack of spooky(ish) books to enjoy and keep me in the spooky Halloween spirit!

Halloween-A-Thon TBR List:

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
Neverworld Wake Marisha Pessl
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

I know that there is no way I’m going to read anywhere close to all of these, but I’m a girl that likes options. So I tend to make my TBR’s a little unnecessarily large. I’m a total mood reader so I like to have a few different choices already picked out. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram for updates all day long!

What’s everyone doing for Halloween this year? Parties? Trick or Treating with little ones? Let me know in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.